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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  April 3, 2011 8:00am-9:00am EDT

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when i tell them that i'm giving them a trip, they just can't believe it. giving back to my employees makes me feel great. and when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. how can the gold card help serve your business? booming is taking care of your business by taking care of your employees. scary flight fallout. new and surprising details surface today about the plane that made an emergency landing with a gaping hole in its roof. strange spring storms across the country. a mix of messy weather, including one event that put a damper on america's past time. a python problem. in one state, officials are going to great lengths to control some scary looking beasts. the motor mouth visits the motor city. charlie sheen on the first leg of his cross-country tour. we're going to tell you why some folks left that show early. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. welcome to "msnbc sunday."
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thanks so much for joining us. this morning, experts are working to determine what caused a hole to tear right into the roof of a southwest airlines flight out of arizona, and the airline is taking a closer look now at all of its fleet. the flight recorders from flight 812 arrived at ntsb headquarters in washington. officials hope they carry clues about the terrifying mishap. investigators in yuma, arizona, where the plane landed, will remove a section of the plane around the hole to examine the metal. meanwhile, southwest has grounded 80 planes to inspect their aluminum skin. the inspections meant 300 flights were canceled saturday. that's about 10% of the airline's schedule. thousands of passengers were left stranded at airlines, but most didn't seem to mind too much. >> well, i mean, yeah, i don't want part of my plane to fall off while i'm in it, so i can understand that. there's nothing wrong with that. >> i think it's a good reason for us to be sitting here waiting because we don't want to get on a plane and the same thing happen to us. so, we can't really complain about that. >> officials say the arizona plane had undergone a full inspection in march of last year
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and a routine check last tuesday. nbc's francis co-has more. >> reporter: an investigation is under way into what caused a large hole to rip open in a southwest airlines 737-300. >> our mission is to determine not only what happened, but figure out why it happened so that we can prevent things like this from happening in the future. >> reporter: flight 812 to sacramento from phoenix had just reached cruising altitude when a large section of the plane's roof panel tore open. as the aircraft lost oxygen, the pilot descended to 11,000 feet. the plane was able to make an emergency landing in arizona with a lot of rattled nerves on board. >> it was a scary experience. >> having problems, some people were passing out. it was not good. >> i thought we were going down, i really did. it just seemed like we were dropping pretty fast. >> reporter: this is not the first time a 737-300 has had holes open up during flight. two years ago, another southwest
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737-300 was forced to land at west virginia after a gash opened up in its roof. that incident led to new faa directives, including ordering airlines to inspect 737s for signs of metal fatigue. the ntsb investigators are on scene in arizona, but it may be weeks before they know just what happened. francis cowe, nbc news. >> when the hole ripped through the plane's hull, the pilots had just moments to respond before losing lives. they dove more than 20,000 feet in four minutes to a level where passengers in the cabin could breathe without their oxygen masks. retired american airlines pilot tom casey explained what was going on inside that cockpit. >> in an explosive decompression, the airplane has to be taken immediately to a lower altitude. there is a time of useful consciousness. time of useful consciousness is the amount of useful consciousness you have at certain altitudes. at 35,000 feet, 36,000 feet,
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it's 30 to 60 seconds. the pilot has to don his oxygen mask, determine what the nature of the problem is -- does he have control and then take appropriate action immediately. the problem for the passengers, and i think one of the reasons some of the passengers passed out, is that with that rapid decompression, your pulmonary, your lungs, the air is forced out of them. it confuses the body. the breathing in and breathing out is temporarily confused and it can be debilitating initially. that's why they want to get their mask on and stabilize their breathing for the new altitude. >> in a few minutes, we'll speak with former ntsb investigator greg feith and get his opinion on what happened. you might find it an unusual source when we talk to him. meantime in japan, another day of curious and gloomy developments. officials released this picture you're about to see of a crack in the fume sheema reactor concrete retaining wall. the water there is highly radioactive, spewing right into the pacific ocean. also today, officials say two
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workers at the plant were killed when the tsunami hit more than three weeks ago. nbc's lee cowan has the very latest from tokyo. good morning, lee. >> reporter: good morning, alex. the problem continues to be this radioactive water that's building up all over the plant. yesterday, as you know, they thought they found the source of where some of the radioactive water was getting into the ocean, and for the last 24 hours, they've really tried feverishly to plug that leak. they tried pouring concrete into this pit that's cracked. that didn't work. they tried using chemical polymers they thought would expand, even mixing it with saw dust and newspaper to clog the pipes that bring the radioactive water into the leaking vessel in the first place. that hasn't really worked either. they say even if they figure out a way to stop the water from going into the ocean, it's still going to be building up all around the plant because they still have to keep pumping the water in and around the turbines and radioactive reactors themselves to keep them cool. and so, it's gotten so bad now that officials are saying that this problem, this radioactive water problem, is not going to be solved in a matter of days or
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weeks. they're talking months. and the problem with that is, of course, until they figure out what to do with all that water, either pump it out to a barge or ship or some sort of outside container, they can't get those waters into the actors themselves, boots on the ground to do the work needed to hook everything up and keep the reactors stable for the long term. that's the latest from here, alex. back to you. >> lee cowan, thanks so much, from tokyo. now in libya, a new approach for the u.s. today, ending its combat role and taking a back seat to the nato forces. the u.s. will now carry out surveillance and refueling missions only. meanwhile, on the ground, the rebels are slowly advancing. they are trying to recapture some losses from the past week. nbc's jim maceda has more on this from tripoli. >> reporter: good morning, alex. well, if we take a closer look at the battlefield, the stalemate playing out there is becoming clearer by the day. with nato now warning both sides, gadhafi and rebel forces, that its warplanes will strike troops or heavy weapons that attack or even threaten to attack civilians. it means that the rebels, for
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their part, won't be allowed to take or try to take sirte, much less tripoli, on this side of the country, nor will gadhafi forces be permitted to try to retake benghazi in the east. now, what that means is that the front line will be moving back and forth, depending on the day, depending on the battle, but in a fairly well-defined stretch of coastal road. it will be about 180 to 200 miles long and mostly in the center of the country. currently, fighting is going on there. it's still in brega. it's been going on there for about three or four days now. it's the key oil port, of course. we've been reporting on it. and it does look like gadhafi forces are getting the upper hand in brega. meanwhile, gadhafi forces are still pounding that last rebel-held town of misrata. the prospects are looking increasingly bleak for the rebels in the center of the city under constant tank and artillery fire, and they are besieged, surrounded by gadhafi forces. very little food, water or ammunition getting in to the
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city. doctors inside misrata are saying at least 240 people have been killed with 1,000 wounded in six weeks of intense fighting there. if gadhafi takes misrata, he will be in control of about two-thirds of the country, including most of the oil and sea ports, leaving him in an extremely good position militarily and economically, despite hundreds of nato air strikes. alex, back to you. >> all right. jim maceda, thank you very much, there from tripoli. president obama and the top u.s. commander in afghanistan are condemning the burning of a koran at a u.s. church. last month's koran burning prompted massive riots this past week in afghanistan, where protesters killed seven foreigners at a united nations compound. president obama called the killings outrageous but also called the desecration of the muslim holy book an act of extreme intolerance. meanwhile, protests continue in the region for a third day. well, spring has arrived, but it certainly doesn't feel like it in some parts of this
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country. in the nation's capital, the nationals/braves game was delayed because of hail. that's no fun. the area also got pounded by rain. meanwhile, the weather has also been extreme out west, where record highs were set saturday from the sierra nevada to the southern california region. let's check in now with the weather channel's alex wallace for the latest forecast. we had some crazy stuff going on yesterday. good morning. >> crazy, indeed, and it's going to get crazier over the next 24 to 36 hours. we're tracking a storm system that's really going to really get its act together here in the next few hours and spawn some strong to severe storms for the eastern half of the country. there's the system now, again, a sort of weakened phase, but gathering strength. we'll be bringing in warm moisture from the gulf of mexico meeting one that system. that's where we'll be watching for strong storms. right now just light showers moving through parts of the midwest, a little snow as well in the northern fringe, back up towards the u.s./canadian border as well. but again, what's going to be happening as the system gains strength, plenty of moisture, there's going to be plenty of that working out of the gulf of mexico, meeting up with their
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storm system. then we have an upper level disturbance. that's going to add an extra oomph to these storms as they get going this evening through monday morning and then pressing a little farther east through the afternoon and into the east coast as we get into monday afternoon as well. so, we're going to be talking several areas dealing with strong storms in the coming days. for today, though, it's mainly the midwest and then for the overnight spreading a little farther east. heads up around st. louis, towards dallas. hail, wind and tornadoes will be a risk. alex? >> got a whole potpourri of stuff going on. thank you very much, alex wallace. is charlie sheen's "torpedo of truth" tour nothing but a big fat bomb? that's what it looked like based on fans' reaction during the opening night of his one-man show. minutes after taking the stage, dozens began to boo the actor and others walked out, complaining all the way. >> ten minutes into the show and i'm leaving. it's horrible. it's not winning, it's losing. >> a waste of money. sell them. sell them while you can. it's awful. >> it sucks.
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snoop dogg was going to be here. there's a whole menu of what's going to be. you know, where's snoop dogg? you know? no. don't do it, people. don't do it, because there's nothing. >> well, some audience members say they plan to demand a refund, and the reviews from critics are far from raves. the "hollywood reporter" said "call it tiger blood or adonis dna, if you will, just don't call it entertainment." the "detroit free press" called it "absolutely disappointing, an official bomb." saturday is the first show of a 22-show run for sheen. getting to the bottom of the scare in the air. we'll hear from a former ntsb investigator with a unique theory about what may have caused that hole in the roof. also, the bronx zoo cobra may be back in her enclosure, but there's another snake problem that has yet to be solved in florida. but first, he's back! words of wisdom for high school students from the former governor of illinois. this is "msnbc sunday." you know when the times are tough, the tough get gorgeous.
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a massive search is going on this weekend in oregon for any sign of a missing 14-year-old girl. family, friends, volunteers all searching a heavily wooded area in portland for the body of yashawn vaughn. police say they believe her 16-year-old boyfriend killed her two weeks ago in his home. he was arrested thursday, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter charges on friday. vaughn's family and friends say they are dissipate to find yashawn's body because they need closure. a luxury business plane crashed in roswell, new mexico, killing four people aboard. the twin-engine gulf stream jet was doing performance tests at the time. the aircraft reportedly rolled
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over during takeoff, slammed into the runway. it burst into flames then. the two pilots and two flight testers aboard all worked for gulf stream. usually, unwanted mail comes in the form of menus or coupons, but for one new york city dentist, it was a box of drugs. a 31-pound bail of marijuana was delivered to his office friday. the package was sent from texas by someone using the dentist's last name. dr. lyons says he was shocked and immediately called police. >> it's very important for everyone to understand that you'd better be careful of what you open up, okay, because you never know what's going to be happening anymore. i mean, if i can get this in an office, that's ridiculous. >> well, there's no word yet on who may have mailed those drugs. officials say on the street, that box of pot is worth about $45,000 or so. federal investigators are in yuma, arizona, trying to figure out what went wrong with that southwest plane that made an emergency landing friday. the ntsb says it will remove the
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fuselage section that burst apart midflight to further examine it. greg fike is a former investigator for the ntsb. very good morning to you, greg. >> hi, alex. >> okay, first thing, as a former ntsb investigator, what are they doing right now on the ground as they look for the clues as to what happened here? >> they're doing a very careful examination of the failed part of the fuselage. they're looking for those kinds of cracks that have been talked about in the past with aging aircraft issues, but they're also going to be looking at other factors. could there have been other kinds of fatigue that occurred in that particular area that may not be associated necessarily with this aging aircraft issue, such as something that was induced by maintenance people when they were cleaning gaps that they were inspecting for these cracks. >> okay, wait a minute, cleaning the gaps? how do the maintenance people go about doing that when they are doing cleaning, and what do you think could have happened? >> what you're looking for is, in order to do a visual
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examination of the fuselage, looking for obvious cracks, these airplanes are painted on the exterior, of course, so they're going to have to strip away some of that material, whether it's the paint or the bonding material in these overlapping joints. you remember, you have multiple pieces of metal, and they overlap each other, so you have to clean those areas to look at or look for those cracks. and you use different kinds of tools to do that. it could be that in using one of these scraping tools, they scribed the metal, which creates now a weak point. and through the cycling of the fuselage, these cycles that we've talked about in the past, all of a sudden now, you've created a stress riser, and that becomes a fail point. >> okay. you've explained that. how about explaining a 15-year-old plane to me? how old is that in a plane's life cycle? because that's how old this plane was. >> we don't look at aircraft in terms of calendar years like you do with your car. we actually look at it in terms of flight hours or cycles,
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because it's the cycles, it's that constant pressurization, depressurization, the working of the fuselage, if you will, that really accounts for the life cycle of the aircraft. so in this particular instance -- >> so wait, greg, a question. would a life cycle of an aircraft that is a longer-haul aircraft, is that a -- is that less stress on a plane than one that's taking off and landing so many times because they do shorter distance trips? >> yes. when you look at the number of cycles, like with southwest, because they can accumulate more cycles in a 30-day period than, like a 747, that's used for long-haul flights, it may take a 747 six months to accumulate 5,000 cycles versus southwest, who could do that same 5,000 cycles in 30 days. but the inspection process and all of the inspections are predicated on cycles. so, regardless of whether it's done in 30 days or six months or
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even a year, they will be done at these periodic cycle intervals. >> okay. and that makes good sense. let's look at the boeing 737-300, 288 of which are currently operating in the u.s. fleet, about 931 worldwide. is there a concern among industry insiders about the 737-300? >> well, i think right now, the 737-300, which is the older generation 73 still in service, i think the concern is it's a heightened awareness because of these events, and of course, because southwest seems to be the unfortunate recipient of having these kinds of problems. but in these 288 aircraft, we're learning these lessons. fortunately, no one was seriously injured or killed in this particular event. the investigators are going to be looking for items that they can then take back to the fleet and examine the rest of the fleet, not only in the 737, but if it's found that it's not an aging aircraft problem, they may take it across multiple fleets,
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whether it's boeing or airbus. so, there are a lot of lessons to be learned. but for right now, i think that with the 737 out there, it's a very stout aircraft, it's been in service a long time, has a very good track record, and i fly constantly. i wouldn't -- it wouldn't be a problem for me to get on a 737 tomorrow. >> okay. well, it's good to hear from you. thank you very much, greg feith. >> take care, alex. what's happening behind the scenes at the white house to prevent a government shutdown? a look at the chances of a compromise. and a bit later, the attack of the giant pythons. no kidding. a look at how the snakes are preying on wildlife in florida at an alarming rate.
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well, president obama has planned to kick off his re-election campaign perhaps as early as tomorrow, but for now, the fund-raising push will largely have him behind the scenes as the president focuses on looming issues overseas and here at home. and topping the agenda, a potential government shutdown
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now just five days away. that is, unless congress can agree on a budget. jonathan alter is an msnbc political analyst and national correspondent for "newsweek," "the daily beast." hi. >> good morning, alex. >> the president made calls yesterday, separate ones to john boehner and harry reid, saying we have to avoid a government shutdown altogether. the president has been told by john boehner, there is no deal out there right now. i mean, the president has said he's hopeful. john boehner says i think we're a ways away. give me your assessment on compromise being reached by friday night midnight. >> we'll probably reach it at, you know, 11:59. >> what is that? >> they always do that at the last minute in washington, but they'll come to some agreement. john boehner is in a trap here. he's caught between the tea party folks on his right and his own, you know, history of being a dealmaker. and i think ultimately, he has his own brand of pragmatism. he knows that it's likely that the republicans will be blamed if there's a shutdown, and
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they'll come to some kind of a deal. in the meantime, one of the big issues are what they call these riders, and these are things that really don't have anything to do with the budget, like killing planned parenthood, killing npr funding, this kind of thing. so, they have to work their way through these riders that the house republicans attached to the budget and then they'll come to an agreement. >> you talk about john boehner kind of putting himself in a corner. how about the president having put himself in a corner when it comes to libya and saying that gadhafi must go? >> it's a problem for him. there was a misalignment between the mission here, which is, you know, to support the no-fly zone, work with nato and so forth, and the policy. and the policy is we want gadhafi to go. but what happens when you have this mismatch between what we're
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actually doing militarily and what our policy is? so, i think we can expect kind of a stalemate here, and i think the administration would like to see it kind of recede in the headlines, not go away entirely, but i think they're glad that msnbc and the other cable networks are now moving toward more mixed programming. >> yeah. understandably so. let's talk about the presidential race, because we hear the president may be filing the papers as early as tomorrow for a, you know, re-election efforts. if that's true, and knowing that he will be certainly going forward on that front, what is a campaign going to look like in the early stages? >> you mean the stop trump campaign of chicago? >> i guess that's it. >> well, it's going to be, you know, in its early stages, about money and trying to rekindle the enthusiasm. and it might be that there's some problems on route to raising $1 billion. that's the goal of the obama
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campaign. and you have a lot of democrats who are -- they're still tired from 2008. many of them have gripes about president obama and they're not going to be as enthusiastic as the obama campaign is going to want them to be. so, part of jim missina's task, the former deputy white house chief of staff who's now running the obama campaign -- part of his task will be how does he motivate these big fund-raisers to go out and really beat the bushes for money. >> from a money perspective, because there are no gop official contenders at this point, does that put them behind in the money game? >> i don't think so much, although it takes some of the pressure off a little bit because it doesn't seem as if obama is in danger of not being re-elected. but if you actually look at these polls and you go state by state, there's a lot of ways he could lose, and it is not in the bag at all for barack obama,
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and -- >> for the economy, is that what it is? >> well, it's the economy and also these unanticipated crises that always confront presidents. but also, a sense that he hasn't fully connected with the american middle class and that, you know, that's a challenge for him. people like him personally, but they aren't bound to him in ways -- i shouldn't say everybody, but not enough are yet fully committed to him to put this election away. there's a long way to go. >> do you think people will jump on board, though, if we see 8.9% unemployment last month, 8.8% this month, 8.7% next month and on and on? >> it certainly helps a lot, but there's no guarantee that's going to happen. there are a lot of people who think this is a very anemic recovery. so there are a lot of unknowns out there. also, it's never the same the second time around. and there are a lot of democrats who fell in love with barack
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obama. and so, it's like, you know, a couple that's been married for a while. the obama campaign is going to have to figure out, how do we rekindle this romance? >> it's idealism versus reality. jonathan, thanks so much. >> thanks, alex. former governor of illinois had tough words during a speech to high school debate students. rod blagojevich, who was impeached in 2001, said congress was a cesspool of criticism. he professed his innocence ahead of next month's retrial on federal corruption charges. charlie sheen's big debut in motor city. did fans like his "violent torpedo of truth"? a live report from detroit next. . time to face the pollen that used to make me sneeze. but with zyrtec® liquid gels, i get fast, 24-hour allergy relief. so i feel better by the time we tee off. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
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today, the ntsb is studying the flight recorder and the black box from the southwest plane that made an emergency landing on friday. meanwhile, southwest airlines has grounded 80 of its planes to
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inspect them after a hole tore through the roof of flight 812 out of phoenix. the plane's inspections for southwest to cancel 300 flights yesterday. while frustrating, most passengers found it hard to argue with that decision. >> on one side, i'm really ready to go. on the other side, i'd rather they get all the planes fixed first. i don't want to go out there in a plane that's going to have a hole in the top of it. >> probably in a month i'll forget about it and book with southwest again like most americans when they get past the initial shock. but i know things happen. i hope everyone's safe. that's all i care about. >> nbc's tom costello has the latest on the investigation. >> reporter: investigators on the ground in yuma, arizona, looking over the southwest 737 that made an emergency landing late friday after a five-foot hole ripped over midflight. passengers describe a loud bang, then a rush of air escaping from the cabin. >> and bam! i mean, just incredible noise. and then while you're trying to
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process what just happened, then oxygen masks come down. >> not everyone was getting their mask on. some were having problems some people were passing out. it was not good. >> reporter: flight 812 had just reached cruising altitude after departing phoenix bound for sacramento, when suddenly, that large section of the aircraft skin ripped open, right over the passengers' heads. with the plane losing oxygen, the pilot quickly descended from 3,400 feet down to 11,000, then made an emergency landing at a military base in yuma. >> i thought we were going down, i really did. just seemed like we were dropping pretty fast. >> any time you have a rapid decompression of an aircraft that is a big deal just from the standpoint of safety, because it is a startling event not only for the passengers, but of course, the flight crews. >> reporter: the plane involved, a 15-year-old 737-300. another southwest plane, the same model, had a hole open up in the roof nearly two years ago at 30,000 feet, forcing an emergency landing in west virginia. that led to several faa
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air-worthiness directives. airlines were ordered to inspect 737s for signs of metal fatigue. two years ago, the faa fined southwest $7.5 million for failing to conduct timely crack inspections on its 737 fleet. we talked to the ntsb on the scene. >> we will be looking at everything. right now, we are here to look at this accident. and if we find issues related to this accident that could be applied to the rest of the fleet, we will make that point known. >> reporter: and metal fatigue has led to tragedy. in 2005, a chalk's airways plane crashed on takeoff from miami when its wing ripped off. 20 people were killed. in 1988, the top of an aloha airlines plane tore off in flight. a flight attendant was sucked out of the plane to her death. >> that was nbc's tom costello reporting there. the u.s. has now officially ended combat missions over libya with other nato members taking over the air support role. u.s. air force and navy aircraft will continue to fly combat support missions, though, and
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that would include surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic jamming and refueling. u.s. combat aircraft in the area are also prepared to respond to assist the nato combat operation over libya, if needed. joining me live from washington, d.c., msnbc military analyst, retired u.s. army general, barry mccaffrey. general, good morning, sir. >> good morning, alex. >> so, with the u.s. handing over the combat missions to nato, where does that leave the rebels without the u.s. air strikes? >> it certainly is a very curious war. we flew the preponderance of these missions, u.s. navy flew the preponderance of the u.s. tomahawk missiles. we are now out of it, have distanced ourselves from it. we have heard nato articulate that their policy is they will strike either side who are threatening civilians. so, we've got people at, you know, danish air force, canadians, the brits, the french with a small number of aircraft at 20,000 feet, arguing that you should come out in the open desert and have a fight and we'll bomb both sides.
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hard to understand what we're doing. >> yeah. hard to understand. the word curious you've used. it seems like, general, this situation has taken a turn. all of a sudden, you have the rebels asking for a cease-fire. it appears gadhafi is staying put. is this how the u.s. expected this to play out. >> i seriously hope not. i don't think we thought through the consequences of this action. you have misratmisrata, where gadhafi's army and armor are pounding civilians, murdering them. obviously, air power isn't the sole answer, but it's part of the way to support these people from eventually being brought under subjectication and brutal reaction from gadhafi's forces. in the east, the rebels so far show no sign of really having the combat power to act against gadhafi's much better armed, much larger military forces. so, you know, if the analogy was to hitler in germany and there had been an uprising against
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hitler, would the allies have announced we intend to bomb either side if they fight near civilian populations? by the way, gadhafi has now put most of his troops into civilian clothes, and they're moving in civilian transportation. so, it's a strange way to conduct a military operation. >> so, what's the next step? i mean, i'm listening to you, and certainly, from having spent so much time talking with you and other experts over the years, you can sort of see how this will play out. this one not so much. >> well, i think, again, alex, you have to announce political objectives. what is it we're trying to achie achieve? and then design military measures, which ultimately, will if drifacilitate that objective. there's fuzzy thinking. what are we trying to achieve? are we just establishing a no-fly zone, which had very little meaning to the people on the ground. by the way, that's a military tactic, not objective. so, i think nato and the u.s.
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have lost their way on this issue. >> is there something you can foresee as being declared a victory for the u.s. and its allies? what would that look like? >> well, i think, you know, at the end of the day, we've got 41 years of one of the more brutal after yack dictators in the world. obviously, our goal should be for the libyan people and free of him and his sons and the domination of that gadhafi tribe. it's hard to imagine how the libyan people are better off. we appear to be contributing to a stalemate, which doesn't seem, again, to be a sensible political objective. >> okay. retired u.s. army general barry mccaffrey. sir, thank you very much, as always. >> good to be with you, alex. business news now and a look at the week on wall street. the federal reserve releases its february consumer credit report. another increase is expected. movie rental chain blockbuster goes on the auction block in bankruptcy court
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tomorrow. the dish network and billionaire carl icahn have each submitted bids for that. and there's a casting call in los angeles for people who want to be the new voice of the aflac duck. candidates have been submitting applications online by the thousands. actor charlie sheen continues to grab headlines, thanks to his one-man show. the former star of "two and a half men" played to a packed house in detroit saturday night, but fans are already calling his "torpedo of truth tour" a train wreck and questions are being raised about whether or not it is going to stay on course, or perhaps jump the track. frank holland is joining me from the motor city with the latest on sheen's performance and how it was received. so, how did it go? good morning, frank. >> reporter: well, good morning, alex. well, according to the fans that we talked to, the warlock was not able to work his magic last night. behind us, the marquee is still up here. and when you look at it, it says the show's supposed to start at 8:00 last night. well, it doesn't start until about 45 minutes later, which irked the packed house in
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attendance. a lot of them, honestly, were drinking it started about 8:45. the first comedian is booed off the stage almost immediately, then charlie sheen comes out. then the first fans come out at 9:00, giving thumbs down, people wanting their money back saying this isn't a show. people said charlie sheen was there remainbling, probably not a surprise to a lot of people, if you've seen his internet rants, et cetera. but he said there wasn't any organized comedy or sketches and some odd multimedia displays, including -- [ inaudible ] >> frank holland, are you still there? i think we might have had that reporter drop out from wtiv. apparently, he lost his mike. i'm sorry about that. all right, we'll try to get a little bit more about charlie sheen. meantime, the egyptian cobra that recently escaped from the bronx zoo enclosure is about to get a new name. hundreds of people have entered the contest to name that wylie reptile, who was captured after
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six days on the lam. houdini is a popular choice, as well as twitter, in honor of the account. new york may be resting easy, but there is another snake problem in florida big time. this one is out of control. thousands of exotic pythons have invaded the everglades. the unwanted additions are threatening native animals that call that ecosystem home. nbc's science and environmental expert jeff corwin joined a python hunter on a mission to keep those snakes from spreading. >> reporter: it's early morning here in southern florida. the sun is just rising. it's pretty cold. we're traveling along the edge of the everglades national park in this farm field. i'm traveling with bob freer, and we're on the hunt for exotic snakes. freer is among several wildlife advocates trying to help the state of florida stop the spread
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of burmese pythons. the unwanted pet snakes have been abandoned in the everglades, competing with the toughest predators for prey. >> the thing that really surprised me was when i heard the first time that they're eating alligators. >> reporter: this is an old abandoned fish farm. what we discovered was this stuff right here you can see floating. on it, snake skin. it's right there. to be in this water, this stagnant pool, with this eight, nine-foot-long snake who's got a mouth full of 60 razor-sharp teeth. but it this way, it never gets old. got him. oh, he's heavy. this is an animal that is evolved without eyelids and ears and limbs. and despite those handicaps, you
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will not find a greater predator in nature. the lip right here, you can see all -- ahh! fudge. that hurt. what this creature does is it not only detects the presence of prey with its fork tongue, but it's also picking it up with those heat-sensing pits. and as you saw, i mean, a textbook example, a perfect example of how sharp those teeth are. >> your address? >> reporter: they have such a large problem with nonnative snakes and other exotic pets being let loose that state wildlife officials regularly hold amnesty events for people to turn in their animals. >> she's just getting a little too big for what i can handle. >> reporter: this, unlike in other parts of the united states, is subtropical. so, for something like an african rock python, in some ways, it's even more ideal than their original habitat. >> it's like club med, you know in they come in here, say this is fantastic, no humidity, no
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predators, an abundance of food and they continue to thrive. >> reporter: meantime, they will continue to had not for pythons. what went wrong? >> what went wrong was allowing them to come into this part of the country as pets. >> reporter: a dream of having a unique pet that's become an environmental nightmare. jeff corwin, nbc news. >> wow! couldn't even turn away from that one. okay, well, viewers remain glued to their computers this morning, apparently, as they watch a newly hatched baby eagle in its first day of life. the chick hatched yesterday and so many people were watching during the birth that the site actually crashed. two more eggs have yet to hatch. at times, in fact, tens of thousands of people from more than 130 countries have been watching this live feed from iowa since the mother eagle laid those eggs back in february. ♪ love legendary covergirl lashblast?
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it's being touted as one of the most hotly anticipated and highly controversial miniseries to ever come to cable, and tonight "the kennedys" makes its debut. the series airs tonight on the reelz channel after being dropped from the history channel. and despite some controversy over how the famous family's portrayed, several producers say historians will vouch for its accuracy. but is it worth watching? joining me now, "the new york times" culture reporter david itskof. good morning to you. >> good morning. thank you for having me. >> is it worth watching? >> i have to be careful about making evaluations because i'm a reporter and not a critic, but people are very curious about it, given the history that's preceded this miniseries coming on. this is a miniseries that was criticized a year before it was even produced when people got a hold of the scripts and said, you know, this is problematic. >> because of
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that actually took place, you know, i think is still up for grabs. >> well, here's what history channel had to say, because as we said it was supposed to run on history channel and they said no, we're not going to go there. it moves to reelz. history channel's quote is " -- while the film is produced and acted with the highest quality, we have concluded the dramatic interpretation is not fit for the history channel brand." so, who -- do you know who pushed to get it off of the history channel and who pushed to get it on to reelz? >> well, it's a couple of elements here. i mean, there have certainly been reports that the kennedy family itself or through their own emissaries made it known
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they were unhappy with the miniseries, but we did reporting of our own in "the new york times," and what we found was there were historians at the history channel -- they had an in-house historian and they brought in an outside historian to look at what they had and they had concerns about it. the history channel, its brand is in its name. >> i was going to say, right. >> when you call yourself the history channel, you're saying this is fact-based, and i think at a certain level, they were concerned that even though what they had was entertaining and it was base ede a certain amount of accuracy, if it didn't completely confirm with what was known in the historic record it was problematic for them. >> how big a get is this for the reelz channel? which, let's be honest, it's not something that you think of immediately in terms of channel itself. >> exactly. i mean, it's very competitive right now for these movie channels that want to get into original programming. so, in that sense, it is a huge get for them because it allows them to promote this content. they are very excited about the fact that there's already controversy behind the miniseries. they can say, you know, it's the show that you were never allowed to see or you weren't going to get to see until we picked it
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up. >> do you expect huge viewing audiences? >> it's a very competitive night. there is a debut on showtime, hbo, so sunday is a big night for these kinds of well-produced and costly drama series. there are a lot of options for people. but this is certainly in the mix. >> yeah. we'll see how it does. with your help, thanks so much, david itzkoff. thank you. >> thank you. was it an overdose or accident? new information on the life and death of anna nicole smith, next on "msnbc sunday." [ female announcer ] in the past 10 years
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president obama is condemning the killings of seven u.n. workers in afghanistan as well as the burning of a koran at a u.s. church that may have prompted the violence there. meanwhile, the outrage over that koran burning continues in the region and nbc's keir simmons is live in london with more. with a good morning to you, keir, apparently, these protests continue today? >> reporter: that's right, alex. good morning. the protests are in jillal bad city now. they blocked the main highway
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for hours burning an effigy of president obama. yesterday, nine protesters were killed, 80 injured in kandahar city in a u.s. base in kabul was attacked with an attempted suicide bombing. as you said, on friday, protesters stormed the u.n. compound, killing 11 people, including 7 u.n. workers. today, nato's top civilian representative, general david petraeus, said we condemn, in particular, the actions of an individual in the united states who recently burned the holy koran, because that's what spurred this. pastor terry jones in florida, burning the holy koran and setting off these protests. president obama has described it as an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry and sent out his condolences to the families of those who have been killed in afghanistan. what they're trying to do is send a message, say look, this pastor does not represent the mainstream of views, the views of the west. >> keir, can i ask you about pastor terry jones? any responsibility here for
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what's happening? >> you know, he isn't taking responsibility, he says. he's reported as saying "people have tried to make us responsible for the people killed. it's unfair." and it's even reported that he is suggesting that he might try and step up what he calls his campaign. you know, alex, this goes to the heart of questions of freedom of speech and religion in a world where people are so interconnected. so, it's a really tricky problem, alex. >> indeed, it is. keir simmons, thank you so much, from london. the perfect body. a new survey suggests some would give up years of their life for one. the death of anna nicole smith, in many ways it remains a mystery to this day, but now a new look at what led to her passing and the circus around it. a new addiction. if you're getting sucked into daily deals online, you may be one of the growing and surprising number to be doing that. that's next on "msnbc sunday." let me tell you about a very important phone call i made.
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when i got my medicare card, i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65,

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